Thursday, August 27, 2009

Coping being cut

Our in-ground pool is actually raised out of the ground slightly (18 inches near the house). This makes the side a nice bench to sit on, keeps cut grass from blowing into the pool, and should interfere with running and jumping into the shallow end at a steep angle.

One consequence, though, is that our coping stones are a nonstandard width. We've decided to have bullnosed coping (so these are bullnosed both sides, also nonstandard), and that requires that the coping overlap the waterline tile by over two inches. This kind of thing adds up:
  • Waterline overhang: 2.5 inches
  • Tile thickness: 0.25 inches
  • Thinset: 0.375 inches (that's a lot, to give the mason plenty of freedom to flatten the wall for the enormous glass tile mosaics that are going in)
  • Bond beam: 12 inches
  • Thinset: 1 inches (the outside of the bond beam is quite uneven)
  • Facing stone: 1.25 inches
  • Exterior overhang: 2.5 inches
All up, we've gone for coping that is 20 inches wide.

We actually had a order placed for some very nice pearl white travertine (from Olympic Stone). When it came time for them to come by and pick up the check... they didn't. We called back and found there was some sort of problem... they didn't actually have the stone. it would be a 3 month delay to get it from Turkey.

Well, that's never a good thing to tell a customer. Martha started looking around, and found another very nice stone, this one a three color granite, from American Soil. This one is more expensive, but it really is pretty, and it's available right now. We ended up buying it. (We may use OSM's pearl travertine for the face of the pool rather than the coping, since they apparently have the 1" stuff available.)

[Update 16-Nov-2009: The pearl against the walnut travertine ended up not looking as good as we'd hoped, so we ended up using the walnut travertine on the sides of the pool. You can see this in the mid-November post.]

By "it", I mean a 12 ton boulder imported from Columbia, California. You can get a sense of scale from the pickup truck at the back right. This rock is a little shorter than I am.

It came from over here:

They're chopping this thing up into 20 inch wide by 36 inch long by 2 inch thick coping stones for us.

This is a cable saw. The cable has some kind of abrasive on it (I've never actually seen the thing stopped, it appears to be running all the time). The huge wheels drive the cable through the stone. Above and below, they're whacking the top off the boulder.

Below, they're cutting the ends off. In this pass, the rock stays put and the machine basically drops through it at a half inch per minute (I'm not really sure, as I never saw the saw make any noticeable progress through the rock).

Here's one of the slabs coming off the cable saw, going into their indoor facility for shaping. You can't really see all the color here, but there is white, black, and some pink to it.

Here's the rock all chopped up:

There's a lot of white in some of these. Hopefully they'll be able to cut around that to some extent.

Not so much in others.

This equipment is usually used to make countertops.

American Soil just got a brand new Italian machine for cutting and bullnosing. This isn't it, since apparently that machine can't cut a straight line just yet.

Each stone should weigh about 140 pounds. I'm sure the mason will be very happy to hear that.

I'm really happy with how this looks. We still have some risk, in that the coping could have huge blobs of white in it, or the grain could get mismatched, but the folks at American Soil seem to be on top of that.

We've also picked up all our glass tile. It gets installed after the coping, but I'll try to post some pictures of the pieces assembled in our garage so you can get a feel for it.